Searchable Text Database

Open Source Options

  1. Full Text Search
  2. Interesting Search in My Opinion
    1. Sphinx
    2. MySql Search
    3. Sql Server search
    4. Lucene and Elastic Search on top of Lucene.
  3. Full Text search comparison
    2. A very nice comparison
  4. Sphinx
    1. I have personally used Sphinx with a Ruby on Rails project by installing sphinx in the background, installing a gem to interact with sphinx, defining which attributes in the model file to index, how to do searching, using delta index to speed up the process by using a delayed gem which would make a local copy of the change and when the index was updated after some period sometimes days sometimes after a week (done through cron job) then it would move the delta changes to the full index. I found the sphinx server easy to use once i got the hang of it. The delta index is normally smaller then the full index and is often the most recent changes which have not been integrated into the full index. This is normally used to avoid updating the whole index(as re-indexing is a time consuming process which can take long time based on the index size). 
    3. Can be used as stand-alone or with  MySQLMariaDB and PostgreSQL, or by using ODBC with ODBC-compliant DBMS’s
    4. Sphinx latest release download
    5. Documentation 
    6. Support for many programming languages integration and highly scalable.
    7. Has a lot of features related to natural language processing like using stopwords, tokenization etc.
    8. Note that the original contents of the fields are not stored in the Sphinx index. The text that you send to Sphinx gets processed, and a full-text index (a special data structure that enables quick searches for a keyword) gets built from that text. But the original text contents are then simply discarded. Sphinx assumes that you store those contents elsewhere anyway
    9. There are multiple modes of searching which can be found
  5. MySql Full Text Search 
    1. Modes of search:
      1. A boolean search interprets the search string using the rules of a special query language
      2. A natural language search interprets the search string as a phrase in natural human language
      3. A query expansion search is a modification of a natural language search
  6. Sql Server Full Text Search
    1. The beginning of the article give overview of text search, functionality, architecture, and modes of searching.
    2. Interesting section on this page are the related tasks at the end which gives more detail on how exactly to do the search. The most helpful article is the first one on how to get started with full text search
  7. Apache Solr/Lucene
    1. Rest Api
    2. Stand alone
    3. Tutorial
  8. Interesting Project on top of Lucene
    1. Interesting because it supports real time analytics and real time search, document oriented, restful(like lucene) and full text search
  9. BaseX
    1. Xml Database with full text search using XPath for search.
  10. Datapark search for search within a website or group or intarnet
    1. Documentation
  11. ht://Dig
  12. Apache Lucy
    1. Loose C port for Lucene(Java search engine)
    2. Full Text Search
  13. Lemur Project
  14. Search for Websites
  15. Swish-e

Venture Capital – Startup Network

Venture Capital – Startup Network

Databases In Review

Can the new NoSQL databases formats like key-store, graph based, column family datastore, and document oriented databases compete with already optimized relational databases like oracle, MySQL etc.

The traditional relational databases have little room for improvement as they are highly optimized and are already in place in number of applications but these relational databases don’t scale well that is where the different type of NoSQL databases come in they don’t some things like transactions or comprise on some features but they are built to be fast and scalable. Also, with the fast speed of changes in applications and need to adapt the database quickly to changing requirements and changing database structure the traditional databases are more difficult to change. Changing the traditional databases requires changing the whole database structure, change all the applications which uses the applications and this makes it harder for the databases to accomodate change whereas in less critical areas like in social network data where change is normal and using traditional databases is too difficult to use and to scale NoSQL provides the flexibility to be able to add change the structure for new data and merge different format of data without changing existing applications. Sharding and replication work well with large databases. With the progression of internet more and more data is collected by all organizations and existing databases fail to accomodate Big data. In order to accomodate big data there is a need to use technologies like NoSQL databases, hadoop, map-reduce and similar techniques to reduce the problems in smaller chunks and use cloud computing to do what is not possible to do anymore in traditional databases.

In the past if you had a lot of data with a lot of columns and based on the columns you wanted to find a pattern between the variables and the output we are interested to analyze you would use statistical analysis. These statistical models are too difficult to use when the data approaches a large scale i.e. Big data. Big data makes the statistical models slow to use and impossible to use. So in order to use them there is a need to make some kind of algorithms which distribute the data in buckets, uses hadoop and map-reduce to apply some kind of calculation we are interested in and apply them to smaller problems, finding the result and merging them to get the result we want. This involves now use of cloud computing.

Transition from Traditional Computing to Cloud Computing

Apple is a consumer company and IBM is an enterprise company.

Cloud computing model now does not allow companies anymore which try forced customers to buy new product versions every time the company wants. For example Microsoft tries to forces consumers new versions of word every time they come up with a new release.

Now companies are trying to move towards cloud computing like Microsoft online and Google online instead of trying to makes sales only by selling new versions of their software. A consequence of the cloud model is that profit margins are decreasing. A traditional product which consumer was forced to buy for 100’s of dollars now in cloud computing is cheap and easily available to consumers. Cloud subscriptions are easy now.

An example of this shift can be seen in adobe products which allows consumers now to allow to use their product line for small amount per month as opposed to spending hundreds of dollars to buy the whole adobe suite.

Now no company can try to focus on one end of the market instead in order to survive in this new cloud computing companies need to be able to work on multiple ends of the market and provide cloud services rather then traditional services.

It is now a network market. Like apple does not makes it sales only by selling computers only instead they are not providing multiple smaller components like they now make money by providing iTunes cards, providing additional paid apps in addition to stock applications, developers can make money by selling applications but even in that they say that we want cut from applications you are selling in our app store, developers/publishers can make money by creating books in apple platform for their iBooks application present in their mobile devices, they provide also iTunesU courses/content and all these services apple are providing are more or less integrated with cloud computing i.e. we can enable your book through our cloud service iCloud or consumer can upload their documents through iCloud.

If we make a apple cloud then there are multiple markets, multiple ends, many type of focus are available in the apple cloud. Apple is not focusing on one type of work instead it is trying to branch into multiple areas through cloud computing. This is known as two-sided or n-sided networks as there is no end to this network or one focus to these networks instead it spans multiple areas.

IBM used to say that in enterprise if you want to do business with us this is the contract worth millions/billions of dollars if you want to use our services which can’t work now in the shift to cloud computing. They tried to negotiate contracts like this as stated above instead of trying to market their products to consumers to buy them.

All these models stated above will start coming into cloud computing. The nature of cloud computing is that enterprise can be involved directly or indirectly in cloud. Same is the case of consumer market which can be involved directly or indirectly with cloud computing.

Data nature is similar. Some data is company data, some is public data, some data is coming from different sources from outside of cloud and some is social network data. Not all data is related to enterprises. Some data is related to where/what is inventory right now, what is our shares information, what are the financial of the company, sales data.

There are two aspects of cloud computing. For example Microsoft is not a strong position in terms of shares whereas Apple and Google shares is doing very good right now. That being said the good thing about Microsoft is that their enterprise presence and consumer presence is integrable as their cloud technology is intermixed, their technology is intermixed as well. One example of this is that while working in Visual Studio you can developer for their cloud, web platforms, mobile platform, desktop environment and enterprise in a centralized way. Another example is with their Xbox xna which is now starting to overlap with .NET and their is more overlap to come in the future between the xna and .NET.  (Note: Xbox xna and .NET overlap needs to be validated first). This will mean that experience on web, mobile and television will start to merge and overlap more and more. This overlap means that there will be more commonality between the different platforms and they will start to be integrated tightly with each other to give a more pleasurable whole experience for a consumer.

Apple right now is not in a position to enter the enterprise market.  Their goverance or distribution model is not good enough for enterprise right now. An example is you have multiple computer connected in a organization then you can set the update policy or software updates which can be activated on multiple computers in an organization but that is not possible in Apple as you have to manage the updates or software yourself. Apple is a good desktop computer for consumer use but Apple does not do the updates/software itself and you have to manage that yourself. There distribution, ibooks and application distribution follows the same pattern. For example there can only be admin for whole organization/entity which is not feasible for an organization with thousands of people. A single admin can’t handle the whole organization/entity where the size of the organization matters.

IBM once had a lot of products like lotus which were niche and were better than sharepoint for that matter but know IBM does not the same market and focus as they once had related to enterprise. They were strong once but know in the cloud era they so far have not showed any sign of adoption to new demands. One of the reason their products like lotus had disappeared more or less is because IBM model for marketing is different and they ask to make deals worth millions instead of trying to sell individual low cost products to consumers. They use to survive in the past because their contracts used to be lengthy and they had service contracts were eloborate enough but now as the model has diluted and cloud has come and there is less and less demand for hundred of dollars of products now the model for cloud is subscription based low cost. IBM will have to come into the cloud market somehow and another concern is how exactly they will enter this market with innovative companies like Apple and Google as they are right now earning a lot based on their shares.  People right now are interested in innovative companies because of their thought process. So IBM will now have to evaluate if they can survive without this consumer market or not.


Cloud Computing

Cloud Computing

  • Reference:
  • Cloud computing is the use of computing resources (hardware and software) that are delivered as a service over a network (typically the Internet). Cloud computing entrusts remote services with a user’s data, software and computation.
  • What is a business model? (Answer)
  • Characteristics:
    • Agility
    • APIaccess to software to interact with cloud systems. Mostly using REST API’s.
    • Cost is reduced for some scenarios.
    • Device and location independence use browser to access systems from anywhere without additional software installations.
    • Virtualization allows servers and storage to be shared increasing utility.
    • Multitenancy allows sharing of resources and costs on large number of users.
    • Reliability improved if multiple redundant sites used.
    • Scalability and elasticity
    • Performance  monitored constantly using web services as interface.
    • Securitycan be increased due to centralization of data but complexity of security increases as data is distributed in public cloud. Due to complexity companies moving towards private cloud.
    • Maintenance  is easier.

  • Types of Cloud Computing
    • Infrastructure as a service(IaaS)
      • In this most basic cloud service model, providers offer computers, as physical or more often as virtual machines, and other resources.
      • IaaS refers not to a machine that does all the work, but simply to a facility given to businesses that offers users the leverage of extra storage space in servers and data centers.
    • Platform as a service(PaaS)
      • In the PaaS model, cloud providers deliver a computing platform typically including operating system, programming language execution environment, database, and web server.
    • Software as a service(SaaS)
      • In this model, cloud providers install and operate application software in the cloud and cloud users access the software from cloud clients
      • The cloud users do not manage the cloud infrastructure and platform on which the application is running.
      • Providers provide access to application software and databases.
      • The infrastructure and platform for the software handled by providers
      • Advantages:
        • Lower costs by reducing software/hardware costs handled using cloud provider.
        • Centralized hosting.
      • Disadvantages:
        • Users data stored on provider’s server. Risk of unauthorized access to data.
    • Storage as a service(STaaS)
      • Storage as a service (STaaS) is a business model in which a large service provider rents space in their storage infrastructure on a subscription basis. The economy of scale in the service provider’s infrastructure allows them to provide storage much more cost effectively than most individuals or corporations can provide their own storage, when total cost of ownership is considered.
    • Security as a service(SECaaS)
      • Security as a service (SECaaS) is a business model in which a large service provider integrates their security services into a corporate infrastructure on a subscription basis more cost effectively than most individuals or corporations can provide on their own, when total cost of ownership is considered. These security services often include authentication, anti-virus, anti-malware/spyware, intrusion detection, and security event management, among others.
    • Data as a service(DaaS)
      • DaaS is based on the concept that the product, data in this case, can be provided on demand to the user regardless of geographic or organizational separation of provider and consumer
      • Advantages
        • Agility – Customers can move quickly due to the simplicity of the data access and the fact that they don’t need extensive knowledge of the underlying data. If customers require a slightly different data structure or has location specific requirements, the implementation is easy because the changes are minimal.
        • Cost-effectiveness – Providers can build the base with the data experts and outsource the presentation layer, which makes for very cost effective user interfaces and makes change requests at the presentation layer much more feasible.
        • Data quality – Access to the data is controlled through the data services, which tends to improve data quality because there is a single point for updates. Once those services are tested thoroughly, they only need to be regression tested if they remain unchanged for the next deployment.
      • Disadvantages
        • a common criticism is that when compared to traditional data delivery, the consumer is really just “renting” the data, using it to produce a graph, chart or map, or possibly perform analysis, but for data as a service, generally the data is not available for download
    • Database as a service (DBaaS)
    • Test environment as a service(TEaaS)
      • Sometimes referred to as “on-demand test environment,” is a test environment delivery model in which software and its associated data are hosted centrally (typically in the (Internet) cloud) and are typically accessed by users using a thin client, normally using a web browser over the Internet.
    • Desktop virtualization
      • Desktop virtualization involves encapsulating and delivering either access to an entire information system environment or the environment itself to a remote client device. The client device may use an entirely different hardware architecture from that used by the projected desktop environment, and may also be based upon an entirely different operating system.The desktop virtualization model allows the use of virtual machines to let multiple network subscribers maintain individualized desktops on a single, centrally located computer or server. The central machine may operate at a residence, business, or data center. Users may be geographically scattered, but all must be connected to the central machine by a local area network, a wide area network, or the public Internet.
    • API as a service(APIaaS)
      • API as a serviceis a service platform that enables the creation and hosting of APIs (application programming interfaces).These API’s normally provide multiple entry points for API calls ranging from REST, XML web services or TCP/IP.
    • Backend as a service(BaaS)
      • Web and mobile apps require a similar set of features on the backend, including push notifications, integration with social networks, and cloud storage. Each of these services has their own API that must be individually incorporated into an app, a process that can be time-consuming and complicated for app developers. BaaS providers form a bridge between the frontend of an application and various cloud-based backends via a unified API and SDK.

Data Platform

Professor Brynjolfsson says:

“Decisions will increasingly be based on data and analysis rather than on experience and intuition. “We can start being a lot more scientific,” he observes.”


Mr. Smolan an enthusiast says that:

“Big Data has the potential to be “humanity’s dashboard,” an intelligent tool that can help combat poverty, crime and pollution.”


The paper is to propose the creation of a SOA and Big-Data enabled data-platform. The platform will allow us to achieve continuous improvement through regulating persistent and predictive statistics associated with activities. Strategize, align, govern, execute, and optimize define the governing objectives. The selection of these activities is determined by the theory of cause and effect to improve on the drivers that govern the governing objectives. This is assuming that business-governing objectives are close to the allocation of capitals for various activities. A data-platform that regulates the governing objectives by reevaluating selected statistics is claimed to have increase the productivity by 5 to 6%.


Creation of data-centric and extensible architectures based on SOA to expose existing infrastructure is key to creating a data-platform. Traditional data mining and business analytics techniques can be improved upon using concepts such as Big Data and SOA to create an agile data-platform. The predictive power of Big Data needs to be explored and considered economic development and economic forecasting.


This agile data-platform can be key in monitoring performance indicators including sales growth and earnings per share as well as non-financial measures such as customer loyalty, perceptions and product quality are can be used to measure and mange results to implement continuous improvement process.

Learning Platform

The proposed system  is to create an IT enabled learning environment with integrations in to the sales and marketing system for admissions and registration. In addition to that it could benefit from an alumni relation dataset for internships, placements and alumni assisted mentoring. A Financial system for managing the registrations and payments is also part of the company’s IT infrastructure. Loosely coupled virtual labs, video capture, tele-presence and remote video sharing systems are proposed. In essence we are designing an education management system. The system needs to integrate with functionality across multiple business functional areas. The system is visible outside the organization for some of its functionality when interacting with possible students and alumni. The rest of the time the system needs to remain focused on learning by providing a collaborative environment. An effective education management system will not only provide an integrated approach to the people registered for training but also help the institute mange relationship with the trainees before and after their direct association with the institute. This will not only provide a better experience for them but also help attract better candidates to the training center. An effective survey and polling mechanism as part of the offering will help with assessments and evaluations.

1.    Topics most important for any company’s IT.

1.1    Policies and Governance

What policies and technologies do educational institutions need to have in place to protect both their infrastructure and users’ privacy in today’s open, collaborative learning environment?

1.2    Business Value of Emerging Technologies

Organizations need to be able to expand globally and literally overnight. The introduction of cloud computing, utility computing, virtualization or distributed computing, and Software as a Service now help to facilitate organizations’ ability to operate anywhere, anytime, and expand technology assets simply and easily.

1.3    Green Computing

Green computing is a phenomenon that needs to be part of every company’s strategy.

1.4    Mobile Communication

Mobile and Cloud computing considerations is going to affect all IT application infrastructures.

1.5    Characterizing Communication and Collaboration Systems

Collaboration and communication along with evaluation and assessment is the backbone any learning environment.

1.6    Immersive Conferencing and Virtual Workspace

Location is not a restriction for any type of interaction. Virtual environments are a necessity of the futuristic design.

1.7    m-Business

Every device and every entity will need to interact with every other entity in the vicinity. For example every car does not have to know how many other cars on the road in a metro area but it need to negotiate with all the other cars in its vicinity.


2.    Business Value of Emerging Technologies

2.1    Cloud Computing

2.1.1    Public cloud

Public cloud applications, storage, and other resources are made available to the general public by a service provider. These services are free or offered on a pay-per-use model. Generally, public cloud service providers like Amazon AWS, Microsoft and Google own and operate the infrastructure and offer access only via Internet (direct connectivity is not offered)

2.1.2    Community cloud

Community shared infrastructure between several organizations from a specific cloud community with common concerns including security, compliance and  jurisdiction, etc.

2.1.3    Hybrid cloud

Any combination of private, community or public cloud those remain unique entities but are bound together, offering the benefits of multiple deployment models.

Companies and individuals are able to obtain degrees of fault tolerance combined with locally immediate usability without dependency on Internet connectivity by using both on-premises resources and server-based cloud infrastructure.

Hybrid clouds lack the flexibility, security and certainty of in-house applications. Hybrid cloud provides fault tolerance and scalability of cloud-based services.

2.1.4    Private cloud

Private cloud is cloud infrastructure operated solely for a single organization, whether managed internally or by a third-party and hosted internally or externally. Undertaking a private cloud project requires a significant level and degree of engagement to virtualize the business environment, and it will require the organization to reevaluate decisions about existing resources. When it is done right, it can have a positive impact on a business, but every one of the steps in the project raises security issues that must be addressed in order to avoid serious vulnerabilities.

2.2    Architecture

Cloud architecture, the systems architecture of the software systems involved in the delivery of cloud computing, typically involves multiple cloud components, applications and application infrastructure communicating with each other over a loose coupling mechanism such as a messaging queue. Elastic provision implies intelligence in the use of tight or loose coupling as applied to mechanisms such as notifications, messages, events, and data retrieval queries.

2.2.1    The Inter-cloud

Inte-cloud is a global “cloud of clouds” and an extension of the Internet “network of networks” on which it is based.

2.2.2    Cloud engineering

Cloud engineering is the application of engineering disciplines to cloud computing. It brings a systematic approach to the high-level concerns of commercialization, standardization, and governance in conceiving, developing, operating and maintaining cloud-computing systems. It is a multidisciplinary method encompassing contributions from diverse areas such as systemssoftwareweb, performance, information, security, platform, risk, and quality engineering.

2.3    Enhancing flexibility and scalability

As-a-service model is available in many flavors.

2.4    World Wide Web

Internet is inherently built into many IT infrastructures. Most services are exposed and consumed through Internet. Any IT infrastructure with out the support of Internet is extremely limited.

3.    Green Computing

An article published by New York Times for not being green rattles companies like Google. People are getting more concerned about doing business with green companies.

3.1    Virtualization

Hardware virtualization allows for organizations to maximize their resources using minimal sets of hardware and thus it is the key technology behind cloud computing.

Essentially, virtualization provides end-users with multiple computing platforms, abstracting out important considerations such as fault tolerance, load balancing, failover, backup and availability.

Virtualization and cloud computing allow organizations to focus resources on core competencies. Enhance core competencies by sharing resources and optimizing service delivery models to ensure
their offerings align to rapidly evolving needs.

4.    Mobile Communication

Mobile Communication is a phenomenon that is overtaking desktop computing in many respects. Apples iPad and Android based devices are great communication device in and outside the class. Microsoft’s surface is threatening to match the capabilities of other smart devices. It has a small developer base for mobile devices but a bigger developer base for enterprise developers. Presence in Enterprise market may be key to integrating these great new technologies with existing application infrastructure.

Smart devices can be only device that people need to carry to a classroom. It can also be only device needed outside the class for collaboration, assignments, assessments and evaluations.

5.    Characterizing Communication and Collaboration Systems

Discrete media such as blogs vs. continuous media types, individual chat sessions vs. group participation, synchronous vs. asynchronous communication and focus on task are important considerations. Anything under this topic that keeps us focused on learning may be important. There is no measured ROI for any type communication and collaboration system.

5.1.1    User Communication Systems

Composition, format, physicality, sensory and cognitive capabilities have an impact on what is being communicated. A collection of files with related material, videos, PowerPoint presentation may be less effective then say a book written in iBook format where all of the content is presented in a flow with timeline widgets, questions to asses the understanding of the participants and in context presentation of material whether its in the form of movie, graphs or text.

 Audio and Video Streaming

Any media in the form of Video capture, live streaming,

6.    Immersive Conferencing and Virtual Workspace

Face to face interactions is an absolutely necessary service in a collaborative environment.

7.    m-Business

Mobile computing is a phenomenon that is overtaking desktop computing in many respects. Learning activity does not need to be tethered—to a device or a classroom. Virtualization and cloud computing enables anytime-anywhere-any-device learning.

Deploying mobile strategies to enable students to learn on the go and when they are able is becoming essential for modern learning environment. This type of dynamic learning environment requires robust support to allow students to be able to access learning apps and data from their mobile devices on-the-go.


8.   Less important Topics.

8.1    Network Security

8.1.1    Firewalls

Important consideration from security perspective where the need is to secure the computing environment. The cloud might need to create cloud environment beyond a companies firewall.


8.1.2    Cryptographic Network Security Cryptographic Network Security

While confidentiality, integrity and authentication are important aspects of an information infrastructure authorization is the key for a focus group of people to engage in collaborative leaning experience. Public-private key exchange cryptography is here to stay as long as there is no one to challenge Fermat’s law and people can find big enough mutually exclusive prime numbers.

VPNS, wireless and its security are all important considerations but not the key ingredient for the proposed learning environment.

8.2     Bluetooth

Connection technology used for near range device interactions. It is not an essential technology for the proposed system.

8.3    Wireless Security Issues

Wireless security still has a few hurdles to resolve but it is much improved from the days of WEP encryption. Wireless security needs to address the issue outside the trusted zones.


8.4    VoIP (Voice Over IP)

VOIP may have been the primary mode of voice and data communication if digital data communication was invented before analog communication used by the traditional telephones. Key technology to create audio and video streaming products and services used for various collaboration tools.

8.5    IM (Instant Messaging)


Instant Messaging (IM) provides synchronous user-user or group-based text communication over the Internet that is being overtaken by similar communication using the mobile devices. The experience of ease of use, instant notification and presence awareness is enhanced when mobile devices are in use. The key advantage of the mobile devices is location

8.6    Information Sharing Systems


No ROI studies conducted on information sharing systems such as Blogs, wikis, Knowledge management systems may be good vehicles for that.

8.7    Social Media Communication

Social media communication may be a phenomenon that will stay with us for a long time. Is it consistent with the idea of creating a focused leaning environment? YouTube today has videos with highly informative content and it has how-to videos on various highly complex topics. Instructional design of today would like to take you to these videos but not get distracted with additional links available as related videos.


9.    Conclusion

Proposed system is a loose coupling of learning and collaborative functional systems that can easily integrate with emerging technologies and legacy system to leverage the existing infrastructure. It is designed to enhance the learning experience by engaging them as prospective candidates and retain their involvement even after they have finished their educational program.

Apple as a Platform

This document provides describes Apple’s business model, its competitive forces, challenges and the strategy. Apple is chosen because of its product offering in the mobile and cloud computing. Apple has a long history of successes and failures. During the course of its existence it has transformed itself from a desktop-top manufacturer to mobile platform company. Its flagship product has changed from a personal computer to a smart device. It has always been strong in the consumer market. Should Apple see the enterprise market as the next step as an integral part of its growth strategy and is it ready for it.


1.1    Common Business Model


Apple has only 14 physical products between their personal devices, smart phones, laptops and desktop computers. In addition, it has a cloud based eco-system that supports creation, sharing and selling of applications and content.

1.1.1    Manufacturer

Apple has been operating as a manufacturing company using both direct and indirect manufacturing where they own the exclusive rights to the product and the manufacturing process.


1.1.2    Razor and Blades

Apple partially uses this model where consumers can buy the personal devices or get the cloud platform subscriptions. Software, peripherals, content creation and sharing has purchased later.


1.1.3    Retail and Catalog Consignment

In addition to its online business, Apple has recently launched retail stores for its direct product sales and service.

1.1.4    Cloud Computing and SaaS

Apple uses cloud based computing for its media file sharing, storage and learning platform. Apple iCloud can be used to store and synch content on the cloud. An example of the Apple product can be content manager and iTunesU used as an online learning environment.


1.2    Financial Model


Apple is ranked number 1 company in US for the last 5 years. It surpassed Microsoft as the biggest company in terms of revenue and market capitalization. Apple is a publically traded as NASDAQ: APPL. Apple has revenue in upwards of 600 Billion and cash reserves of 70 Billion. Apple’s market capitalization is around 618 Billion, which is more than twice, compared to the next two technology companies Microsoft and Google.


24 23 19 14 10 Other
28 22 15 10 5 iPod
3 6 31 34 47 iPad
28 30 23 20 12 Iphone
17 18 12 8 6 Desktop
07 08 09 10 11


Apple’s revenue mix is growing for their smart devices compared to the portables and desktops. Gartner reported that its worldwide sales of mobile phones declined in the first quarter of 2012.


Apple’s growth chart is moving upward since the two spikes due IBM’s introduction of personal computers in 1980 and Steve Jobs ousting along with Microsoft’s bailout in 1997.

1.3    Operational Model


Apple has a six building campus located at 1 Infinity Loop, Cupertino, CA and a second one under construction in the same area. Apple has upwards of 50,000 employees. It has partnerships with various manufacturing partners in Asia.


1.3.1    Single-Focused

Operationally Apple is organized as a single profit and loss center. Steve Jobs did not think it was synergy but the ability to run as one giant unit as a unified team. So the whole company can focus on fewer things and shift gears quickly to grab an opportunity.


1.3.2    Agile

Many companies including Microsoft will look for extra revenue and evaluate on a spreadsheet and then figure out what to make where as Apple thinks of a great idea and wants to build a prototype.


1.4    Marketing Model



1.4.1    Best performing Retail Stores

Apple is primarily a product and services company. It has recently started to sell through the retail channel by opening 350+ stores internationally. The retail store carries 14 products only and customized specialized services for the user of those products. Apple has the highest retail revenue per unit of real estate compared to any other company.


1.4.2    Multi-networked Cloud based Eco-System

Apple services offering is a set of cloud-based services in the form of iTunes, App-store and iBook store. The eco-system present behind each of these clouds is enormous and offers a lot of possibilities. Users have opportunity to participate in extending the experience through applications, content creation, sharing and authoring books. Apple makes money off of this multi-sided network by selling computers, smart phones/devices online and through retail stores. Apple also has revenue share model if the user is making money on the mobile, web or cloud platform.


1.5    Competitive Model


Apple has a unique competitive model. It is profitable not because it was the first to introduce a new technology or it has the best of the bread. It benefits hugely by the level of quality of feature rich devices that has a lot of attraction for its product in the consumer market. In addition it is making it appealing to the consumers because of its large follower ship who are either interacting using the clouds or enhancing the product using iBooks and application development.


2.    Competitive Forces and Challenges

Apple competes with PC manufactures for its Personal Computing products. In addition to this smart phone companies such as Android and windows mobile manufactures. Cloud based offerings for file share. Sharing music using iTunes is similar some of the other Internet based sites offered in the past. Apples offer becomes unique with the creation courses and its content using iTunesU. This can be seen as a learning management system in its infancy.

2.1    The Rivalry of Competitor


Apple competes with windows based PC manufacturers. At the same time Apple is in the smart phone and device market. It is also competing with companies providing cloud-based services.

2.2    The Threat of New Entrants


Apple expects competition from companies that are already in the market with smart phone and device offerings. It has to watch for the followership for people who not only use the product but also use the product as the base to sell products and application.  Mobile platforms such as Android and Windows mobile are either gaining market share or big companies such Google and Microsoft putting a lot resources to improve their market share.

2.3    The Threat of Substitutes


Disruptive technologies (or more generally, disruptive innovations) initially appeal to a small market niche, but evolve to become major competitors, changing the market and affecting the value proposition for the technology they displace. Even dominant companies with little competition are susceptible to substitutes, especially ones based on disruptive technologies. The possibility that a different but related product may substitute for a company’s product, e.g., disposable diapers as a substitute for cloth diapers; ballpoint pens with refills as a substitute for quill pens and ink.

2.4    The Bargaining Power of Buyers


Apple uses its cash hoard to pay for the construction cost (or a significant fraction of it) of the factory in exchange for exclusive rights to the output production of the factory for a set period of time (maybe 6 – 36 months), and then for a discounted rate afterwards. This yields two advantages:


Eventually its competitors catch up in component production technology, but by then Apple has their arrangement in place whereby it can source those parts at a lower cost due to the discounted rate they have negotiated with the (now) most-experienced and skilled provider of those parts. Provider has the opportunity to bring the cost  production costs down and potentially subsidized by its competitors buying those same parts


2.5    The Bargaining Power of Suppliers


Apple recently had to take Samsung to court for intellectual property violations.

3.    Competitive Strategies

3.1      Position-Based Approach


Apple is perceived as the innovation company for the products it is selling today.

3.2      Advantage-Based Approach


Apple is perceived as way advanced in the innovative technology and thus has an upper edge over its competitors. Apple has long-term relationships with all its manufactures. By virtue of thus Apple owns the manufacturing process and technology. It has recently won a case against Samsung for patent infringement. Apple is not just crushing its rivals through superiority in design, Steve Jobs’ deep experience in hardware mass production (early Apple, NeXT) has been brought to bear in creating an unrivaled exclusive supply chain of advanced technology literally years ahead of anyone else on the planet.


3.3      Relationship-Based Approach


Apple has access to new component technology months or years before its rivals. This allows it to release groundbreaking products that are actually impossible to duplicate. Remember how for up to a year or so after the introduction of the iPhone, none of the would-be iPhone clones could even get a capacitive touchscreen to work as well as the iPhone’s?


It wasn’t just the software – Apple simply has access to new components earlier, before anyone else in the world can gain access to it in mass quantities to make a consumer device. One extraordinary example of this is the aluminum machining technology used to make Apple’s laptops – this remains a trade secret that Apple continues to have exclusive access to and allows them to make laptops with unsurpassed strength and lightness.
Once those technologies and their mass production techniques become sufficiently commoditized, Apple is then able to compete effectively on cost and undercut rivals. It’s a myth that Apple only makes premium products. Once the product line is no longer premium, they are produced more cheaply than competitor equivalents, yielding higher margins, more cash, which results in more ability to continue the cycle.

3.4      Model-Based Approach

3.4.1    Growth Chronology    Growth through the establishment of a strong desktop publishing platform

Apple started as a Simple Point-of-Sale (POS) Systems – Purchase of a product/service as a simple transaction when it offered its desktop platform.    Growth from expanding the volume and type of market in the consumer and educational market.


Transformed as a Compound Point-of Sale Systems – Any Apple purchase is an opportunity for the company to make money on its hardware, Software, maintenance and cloud services.    Introduction of Next platform technology to form the basis of mobile device platform.

Next Computers Inc. did not sell more than 50 thousand units. Yet the technologies incorporated in Next computers formed the based of the mobile platform. Now Apple is selling more than 50 thousand units an hour.    Two-sided Market Systems – A system where the organization has two revenue sources and the price of one has an impact of the demand for the second.

Introduction of strong cloud based distribution and marketing offering    The next step can be to start selling Apple as a platform.


3.5    Decision-Based Approach


As mention earlier in this article, Apple is a single entity. Steve Job’s management style was to conduct weekly meeting and a series of meetings for the elite 100. Perception of insiders was that 90% of the employees knew what the company focus was at a particular time.


3.6    The next disruption for Apple


Apple has a strong presence in the consumer market for all its products. Should it worry about the completion in the consumer market or is it necessary for Apple to woe the enterprise customers. Where will the next moment come from?


3.6.1    An existing competitor – Mobile platforms

Android-based devices may have surpassed iOS based on the number form early this year. Number of applications that run on Andorid platform is 600,000 as opposed to 650,000 on Apple’s iPhone/iPad devices. Microsoft may not be selling that many applications but it has a strong integration between its TV, Web, Web and Mobile platform.


3.6.2    A supplier – iPad Manufacturers

Samsung and other vendors have desires to be in the same market as Apple


3.6.3    A start-up – Gets bought out

Startups may not have the muscle to out Rank Apple with its strong research, time to market history, ability to react and deep pockets.


3.6.4    From outside the industry – Enterprise

A company such as Google and Microsoft who are already a competition in the consumer market may be the biggest competition especially if they have a complete solution to allure the enterprise customer. Microsoft already has a strong presence in the enterprise world but may not have strong offering for its mobile platform.


4.    Business Model Evolution

Apple is a strong mobile platform with a extremely effective cloud based distribution system. Other mobile application development platforms have an application eco system with varied levels of maturity. Their cloud based distribution mechanism may or may not be comparable with Apple’s. Their overall cloud strategy is getting a lot of focus on technology offering and integration capabilities with other company-supported platforms. If we are to have the premise, that unified, cohesive technology approach taken by various companies in terms of bringing the deployed and development platform for web, mobile and TV together is a strategic advantage, then how do we compare Apple with the competition?

4.1    Integration


Latest version of Apples mobile development for iOS 6 is integrating a lot of platforms including social networking, collaboration type functionalities. Strategically we can compare it with other development suite in terms of developer follower-ship and technology integration. For instance Microsoft’s development environment is integrated into its mobile, web and cloud platforms. These platforms may be more relevant for the Enterprises as opposed to the consumers.


4.2    Governance


Enterprise governance work s with entitlement and authorization based mechanisms. From the governance perspective we can create an institution wide branded presence through iTunesU and iBookstore. The branded environment should then allow for departments, programs and affiliations based sub-branding. The governance model is well suited if maintained at a central level, but administration of content is maintained at various distributed levels.


4.3    Development


Extensibility beyond Apple platform may be key for integrating Apple line of products and for adaptation by the enterprise. Apple’s development and distribution provisioning environment works well, but it does not allow for multiple levels of ownership. An entity level relationship is needed to maintain and preserve the publishing rights using the entity’s name, but distribution rights for developed applications can lie with the application owners. Also from a development perspective Apples distribution strategy using the App-store is designed for native apple (Xcode based development), but it does not support third party development environments in terms of development and distributed provisioning rights.


4.4    Consumption


Consumers are less inclined to learn the technology. For example iBook author is a great mechanism to publish content. Key strength of the authoring system is through using widgets. Widgets can be extended using common web technologies. Content producers may not always know and be willing to learn web technologies. Content producers should only have to worry about the content. IBook authors may not be the native adaptors of the iBook Author tools’ extensibility mechanism.


5.    Best IT-Supported Proposal

Given the premise from abstract that mobile and cloud computing are technologies of the future. Also Apple has a strong offer in mobile computing and a relatively less mature cloud compared to Amazon, Google and Microsoft.


The company that is in a position to integrate its cloud and mobile offering with the existing application infrastructure might have a better chance for growth in the enterprise environment.


An enterprise with strong mobile and cloud integrations to pre-existing infrastructure may be most compelling criteria for evaluation. Is apple’s mobile/cloud based offer a fit for an up and coming enterprise?


Apple has a strong cloud based distribution system within iTunes including collaboration tools and extensibility mechanisms for application and content creation.  The collaboration tools can be used for lecture capture, course planning, delivery and recording. Apple has tools for video conferencing and group participation as well as a solution for TV integration. Does apple have cloud platform beyond iTunes.


5.1    Justification


Even universities as an example are turning into an enterprise-like environment. An environment with heavy reliance on Active-Directory based computing-element management, push mechanism for policies along with an exchange-based foundation for collaboration, communications and event notification is already in place.


A cloud-based service is already in use for all users for most enterprises. Each user has a choice of some cloud based email service such as Gmail or a Microsoft live account. These accounts provide an instant access to Google docs or Microsoft 360 live. A complete cloud-based solution may not just be based on a service but as a platform that could accommodate platform centric integrations of the environment.


Learning management system for instance is the authenticated, authorized platform to create collaborative learning environments. Tests, Quizzes and evaluations are the core of any LMS. Challenge based learning is the premise for all learning environments of the future.  Learning environment of the future may have loosely coupled integrations for lecture capture, tele-presence and collaboration tools.


For instance iBooks can be used to write books, tests, case competitions, presentations and much more. Widgets can be used to make the iBooks the best medium for creation of content. Survey widgets can be used to assess your understanding of the material. An aggregated survey widget can be the basis of an essential evaluation tool.


5.2    Role of IT


The role of IT in this case is to conform to the limitations of the new innovations. IT needs to get its infrastructure ready for Big Data, Cloud based infrastructure such as offered by Amazon, Virtualized environments.


6.    Conclusion

A simple business use case scenario is based on an actor who needs to play a video game all day. Said user gets up in the morning, switches on the TV, and logs in to access the game. It’s time to head to work so he picks up the mobile device and resumes the same session on a mobile platform. He gets to work and logs in to his computing device and again picks up the same session he started at home.  For an enterprise the maturity of a company’s offer may be evaluated by its ability to leverage existing application infrastructure.


Planning the Unplannable: IT Management of Anytime-Anywhere Learning

Learning and instruction are changing in higher education, owing largely to the proliferation of consumer technologies
on today’s campuses.

A growing number of institutions are moving away from the traditional instructor-focused teaching model to a new student-centric approach that favors a more personalized, collaborative, anytime-anywhere—from any device—learning experience. As these colleges and universities move forward, what technologies and policies should they have in place to support their academic needs?

Today’s students don’t want to be tethered—to a device or a classroom. How does virtualization and cloud computing support anytime-anywhere- any-device learning?

learning should be geared toward removing barriers that impede access. This statement is the same as what we said 10 years ago—
the barriers however, have changed. The explosion of mobile devices has created the latest barrier to access. Students do not want their access to be limited to a specific time, to any one device, or to a specific place. The use of cloud computing and virtualization helps to break down barriers of device and place, while time is more closely tied with course design.

Educators are deploying mobile strategies to enable students to learn on the go and when they are able. This type of dynamic learning environment requires robust support to allow students to be able to access learning apps and data from their mobile devices on-the-go.

Virtualization and cloud computing allow campuses to focus resources on core competencies and evaluate how they can enhance those competencies by sharing resources and optimizing service delivery models to ensure
their offerings align to rapidly evolving campus needs.

What policies and technologies do campuses need to have in place to protect both their network and users’ privacy in today’s open, collaborative learning environment?

Business Platform Definitions


  1. A set of business and technology building blocks that serve as the foundation for building complementary products and services.
  2. A set of resources used in common across a product family that are also subject to network effects.
  3. An open standard, facilitating 3rd party participation, together with a contractual or reputational governance model.
  4. A business ecosystem that matches buyers with suppliers, who transact directly with each other using system resources.


Platforms are economically important and widely observed in modern economies. For example HMOs match patients and physicians. Real estate and auction networks match buyers and sellers. Airline reservation systems match travelers to airline flights. However, thanks largely to technology, platforms are becoming much more prevalent. New platforms are being created e.g. DropBox, Yammer, and KickStarter. Traditional businesses are being reconceived as platforms e.g. U.S. Postal Service, newspapers (Huffington Post). Retail electric markets are evolving into platforms that match consumers with specific power producers, allowing them to express their preferences for cheaper coal or more costly renewable power. In creating strategies for platform markets, managers have typically relied on assumptions and paradigms that apply to businesses without network effects. As a result, they have made decisions in pricing, supply chains, product design, and strategy that are inappropriate for the economics of their changing industries.


providing a set of theory, frameworks, and tools to analyze and manage existing businesses and to develop launch strategies for new ventures. The diversity of industry coverage will provide a strong tool kit for students from diverse backgrounds such as finance, marketing, and operations.


Thousands of firms, from Facebook to Salesforce, now operate as open ecosystems that match buyers and sellers, gain value and market share from network effects, and harness their users to innovate. Drawing on cases from social media, entrepreneurship, enterprise software, mobile services, healthcare, and consumer products, students will analyze and learn to negotiate platform startup, convert existing businesses, and make vital decisions on issues of openness, cannibalization, and competition. Students will interact with execs of major firms such as Cisco and SAP and with startups. They will learn to apply concepts from two sided networks, industrial organization, information asymmetry, pricing, intellectual property, and game theory to real problems.